Getting Started with Short Stories

A self-paced, on-demand course from award-winning author Ryan O'Neill

Writing short fiction is a great way to develop your creative writing skills.

As well as being an art form in its own right, short fiction can be a laboratory for you to try out new and strange ideas; it can be a training ground in which you can build up your writing muscles before attempting a longer form such as a novel; and it can be a playground, in which you can have lots of fun.

In this three-hour course from award-winning short story author Ryan O'Neill, you will:

  • learn the most important elements that make up a short story: setting, characterisation, point of view and plot
  • find reading recommendations and writing advice, including how to spark story ideas
  • complete a variety of writing exercises to build your short fiction skills

For more information, see our FAQ below.
Course level: Aspiring

Writing NSW members receive a $20 discount. Contact Writing NSW for your discount code. Not a member? Join here.


Your Instructor


Ryan O
Ryan O'Neill

Ryan O’Neill is the author of The Weight of a Human Heart and Their Brilliant Careers. Born in Glasgow, he lived in Africa, Europe and Asia before settling in Newcastle, Australia, with his wife and two daughters. His fiction has appeared in The Best Australian Stories, The Sleepers Almanac, Meanjin, New Australian Stories, Wet Ink, Etchings and Westerly. His work has won the Hal Porter and Roland Robinson awards and been shortlisted for the Queensland Premier’s Steele Rudd Award and the Age Short-Story Prize. His latest book, Their Brilliant Careers, won the 2017 Prime Minister’s Literary Award, and was shortlisted for the 2017 Miles Franklin Award.


Course Curriculum



Frequently Asked Questions


When does the course start and finish?
The course starts now and never ends! It is a completely self-paced online course - you decide when you start and when you finish.
How long do I have access to the course?
How does lifetime access sound? After enrolling, you have unlimited access to this course for as long as you like - across any and all devices you own.
What if I am unhappy with the course?
If you are unsatisfied with your purchase, contact us in the first 7 days and we will give you a full refund.
What level of writer is this course aimed at?
This is course is for aspiring short story writers. This means writers who are just starting out with writing, haven’t yet developed a steady practice, and haven't taken short story writing courses before, or who would like an introductory refresher.

Get started now!